Book Launch: Echo in Four Beats (poems) by Rita Banerjee Available for Pre-Order October 10 – December 8, 2017!


Rita Banerjees poetry debut, Echo in Four Beats, is now available for pre-order on the Finishing Line Press website from October 10 – December 8, 2017!

Combining elements, rhythms, and personas from American jazz, blues, and ragtime, poet Rita Banerjee presents a modern-day spin on the love story of Echo and Narcissus in her debut full-length poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats.  But in this story, told in four parts, Echo is more than just a fragment, she is a Sapphic voice that speaks, foretells, forestalls, and repeats.  Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, the Three Mile Harbor Book Prize, the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.

Early Praise for Echo in Four Beats:

Echo in Four Beats sounds the singular pulse of Harlem, Kyoto, Nainital and San Francisco to uncover a deeper mystery; what makes a word into a sensation, a sensation into a moment and what, in the swirling constellation of geographies, turns a moment into the sublime. Amidst the kinetic search for buried treasure in everyday encounters with photocopiers and the breathless search for lost objects, there are also unexpected collisions with silence so shocking, they stop us dead in our tracks. We realise the whiteness between words was here all along; its stillness curving the inside of this syncopated journey across time and space.”

— Dipika Guha, playwright and author of Mechanics of Love and The Rules, and screenwriter for American Gods

“Rita Banerjee’s Echo in Four Beats is a lyric wonder. Wildly intertextual and multilingual, Banerjee mines literatures, histories, and geographies, both eastern and western, to produce an expansive collection of poems. The breadth of her work is staggering and yet utterly approachable, at once intimate and worldly. This may well be the first truly post-national book of poems I’ve ever read. I look forward to reading it again and again.”

— Jaswinder Bolina, author of The 44th of July, Phantom Camera, andCarrier Wave

“Rita Banerjee’s Echo in Four Beats is a multilingual, intercontinental arpeggio of a journey on which ‘one layer/ of enchantment// dispels another.’ From Ovid to Baudelaire, from Manhattan to Atlantis to the Ganges, these poems conjure shape-shifting and gyroscopic worlds where erasure is sustenance, myth is religion, and home is but a constant state of momentary arrivals. Banerjee’s attentive, precise, incantatory poems reverberate ‘not sound not/ voice” and resound with the “enchantments of art/ and life.’”

— Tara Skurtu, author of The Amoeba Game and Skurtu, Romania

“In our narcissism-addled times, Rita Banerjee awakens Echo out of mythical slumber and accords her center stage, with stirring results. These poems dance nimbly from the playful to the sacred, the pentatonic-ancient to the jazzy-contemporary, the observational to the contemplative, and cross languages and borders with abandon, from trains in India to a Munich museum to the local copy shop. Yet while they may ‘change [their] temperament as quickly as salamanders change skin,’ Echo in Four Beats  is constantly returning us to a tonic center and rebuilding its chords and arpeggios anew, offering a music both savory and profound.”

— Tim Horvath, author of Understories and Circulation

“Banerjee’s polyglot collection–pushing at the edges of language; abounding with erasure, mistranslation and wit; impossible to contain in a single tongue. From the smallest pieces of our world–the falling snow, cobblestone, a reflection in the water–Banerjee has crafted something astonishing that reaches towards higher truths.”

— Stephen Aubrey, author of Daguerreotype and What I Took in My Handand Co-Artistic Director of The Assembly Theater, NYC

Pre-Order Echo in Four Beats on the Finishing Line Press website now!

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, March 2018).  She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, February 2018), which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, Three Mile Harbor Poetry Prize, and Aquarius Press / Willow Books Literature Award, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in the the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut.The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere.  She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington.  She is an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard and teaches at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.  She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

Advertisements

Rita Banerjee to judge the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest – Deadline: December 1, 2017

Poet, editor, professor and Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Rita Banerjee will judge the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest.

Minerva Rising is an independent literary press, celebrates the creativity and wisdom in every woman by giving them space to tell their stories and to tell them well.   This year’s contest embodies and embraces the theme “Dare to Speak” by opening up the Minerva Rising annual chapbook contest to writers whose voices have been suppressed.  If your poetry speaks a message that has never been heard before, the Universe is ripe to listen.  Now is the season to Dare.

Writers are invited to submit 14-36 pages of a chapbook-length poetry manuscript (along with a table of contents and acknowledgements page) to Minerva Rising by December 1, 2017.  Winner receives $250 and 10 copies of chapbook.  More information on contest available here.  Submission fee is $20.  Applications open at minervarising.submittable.com.

Rita Banerjee is the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, March 2018) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, February 2018), which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, Three Mile Harbor Poetry Prize, and Aquarius Press / Willow Books Literature Award, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut.The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany.  She is currently working on a documentary film about race, voyeurism, and intimacy in the United States and in France, a novel about a Tamil-Jewish American family in crisis during a post-authoritarian regime, and a collection of essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

CWW Harvest Creative Writing Retreat in Rockport, MA (October 12-15, 2017)

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Harvest Creative Writing Retreat will take place from October 12-15 2017. Our Harvest Retreat offers the opportunity for writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning writers to hone their craft and expand their writing skills on the shores of a luxurious ocean-side beach house.

The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Maya SonenbergRita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. The cost of the retreat is $825 which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals.

If you’d like to join us in Rockport, please apply by the final deadline of September 25, 2017 (early applications encouraged, spots fill up quickly).  Please submit 5-10 pages of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or a play with a $5 application fee, a cover letter, and references. Please also include the following in your cover letter:

1. Full Legal Name
2. Contact Information (Email, Address, Phone)
3. Age & Nationality
4. Prior Workshop Experience and Publications
5. Creative Writing Goals for the Retreat
6. Short One-paragraph Biography
7. Contact of Two Personal References (Name, Email, Address, Phone, Relationship to Applicant)

Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged. Applications due at cww.submittable.com.

applyDeadline: September 25, 2017*

* Please note that early applications are encouraged as there is limited housing in the main retreat house.

Class ScheduleCharacter Development & the Law of Desire (with Rita Banerjee)

Femme fatales, gumshoe detectives, star-crossed lovers, wicked stepmothers, wise fools, empathetic anti-heroes: dynamic and archetypal characters can be key to making a good story or lyrical piece tick and pulling in the reader deeper into your creative work. In this workshop, we will discuss how dynamic and archetypal characters can help structure stories, propel narratives forwards, and how each character’s desire provides interesting ethical dilemmas and emotional spectrums to narratives and verse. We will learn about the building blocks of creating strong, unforgettable characters, discuss the connection between desire and plot, and learn how playing with persona can help liberate nonfictional stories and lyrical poems. 

Forbidden Forms: Beyond the Plot Triangle, I & II (with Maya Sonenberg)

We often think of a story or essay as an organic thing, its form arising naturally from its content, but in this class, we will playfully turn that idea upside down, reading examples of prose using nontraditional forms, and then using forms to generate content. After a brief review of the uses and abuses of plot, we will dive into a wide variety of other forms your fiction and nonfiction can take: games, tests, verse forms, music, and a variety of inspiring forms from nonliterary nonfiction. Our first meeting will be devoted to discussion of readings and our second to group and individual writing exercises designed to show you how starting with form can help you generate new work, solve structural issues in your existing work, and dive even deeper into content.

Writing in the Lyric Register (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

In this writing workshop, we will practice writing in the lyric register, expanding our writing into descriptive, poetic prose.  We will look intensively at writing “the moment,” slowing down and unpacking a single moment.  After examining some examples in literature, we will take to writing and revising our own pieces to unlock the lyrical qualities of a single moment.  Our aim will be to pull our readers into the emotionally charged and poetic world of our narratives.

Bake-Off (with Rita Banerjee & Diana Norma Szokolyai)

During our Harvest Retreat in Rockport, MA, we will do a 48-hour creative writing bake-off together.  The Bake-off exercise or writerly dare was popularized by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel and introduced to the CWW by playwright Dipika Guha. The dare is to write a narrative, play, or chapbook length collection of lyric pieces in a fixed span of time 48 hours in response to a list of shared elements. We will begin with a seminar on Friday afternoon when we’ll visit our creative writing toolbox and look at devices, forms and structures available for our use. At this meeting we’ll choose six elements to include in our writing drawn from the city of Rockport, MA, seeking inspiration from its architecture, history and myths. After the seminar you will go away and write until the next evening. On Sunday over food and drink, we will read your bake-offs together and celebrate your progress. Bake-offs are not critiqued.

Featured Faculty:

Maya Sonenberg’s first story collection, Cartographies, received the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. At the time, she was the youngest author to have received this prize. Her second collection, Voices from the Blue Hotel, appeared in 2007, and her chapbook of fiction and drawings, 26 Abductions, was published by The Cupboard in 2015. A second chapbook, After the Death of Shostakovich Père, won the 2016 PANK [CHAP]book contest and will appear in fall of 2017. Other stories and essays have appeared widely, in such journals as Fairy Tale Review, Web Conjunctions, The Literarian, New Ohio Review, and Hotel Amerika, and she has received grants from King County 4Culture and Artists Trust. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Washington—Seattle, and is currently at work on a book about her grandmother, Laura Ingalls Wilder (both the author and the character), and Jewish utopian settlements in the Dakotas during the late 19th century.

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.  She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali, in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), released in November 2016.  Her debut poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, the Three Mile Harbor Poetry Book Prize, and the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.  And her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press on March 7, 2018.  She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.

Headshot.McCarrenPark,WillamsburgDiana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press on March 7, 2018.  She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-­up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers including David Krebs (US), Robert Lemay (Canada), Claudio Gabriele (Italy), Peter James (UK), Jason Haye (UK), and Sebastian Wesman (Estonia). Diana Norma is a founding member of the performing arts groups Sounds in Bloom, ChagallPAC, and The Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble.  Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause, “Space Mothlight,” hit #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Her work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in VIDA: Reports from the Field, The Fiction Project, Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase QuarterlyThe Million Line Poem, The Cambridge Community Poem, and elsewhere, as well as anthologized in Our Last Walk, The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering, and Teachers as Writers.  She is currently at work on her next book and an album of poetry & music.  Diana Norma holds a M.A. in French (UCONN, La Sorbonne) and an Ed.M in Arts in Education (Harvard).

FAQ:

What happens after I apply?

Once you apply, you can expect to hear from us within 7-10 days and know whether you were accepted into the program. Once you are accepted, you will receive a welcome packet with detailed information regarding the program.

What is the process of paying tuition?

Once you are accepted into the program, you will need to pay a 30% tuition deposit to hold your seat within 3-5 days of acceptance. This amount is non-refundable. The remainder of tuition will be due by September 25, 2017. Our standard and preferred method of payment is PayPal invoice. You can also mail us a check. The deposit is non-refundable.

What is included in tuition?

  • creative writing workshops
  • craft of writing seminars
  • lodging in Portland
  • some meals

I’m local to Rockport. Is there a tuition only option?

Yes. For more information, please inquire at info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org.

What are accommodations like?

We will be staying near Wigaersheek Beach during the retreat, a location that will both inspire and relax participants to help them create. Writers will be staying at our nearby retreat house.

 

 

 

Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czesław Miłosz

You whom I could not save,
Listen to me. 

Can we agree Kevlar
backpacks shouldn’t be needed

for children walking to school?
Those same children

also shouldn’t require a suit
of armor when standing

on their front lawns, or snipers
to watch their backs

as they eat at McDonalds.
They shouldn’t have to stop

to consider the speed
of a bullet or how it might

reshape their bodies. But
one winter, back in Detroit,

I had one student
who opened a door and died.

It was the front
door to his house, but

it could have been any door,
and the bullet could have written

any name. The shooter
was thirteen years old

and was aiming
at someone else. But

a bullet doesn’t care
about “aim,” it doesn’t

distinguish between
the innocent and the innocent,

and how was the bullet
supposed to know this

child would open the door
at the exact wrong moment

because his friend
was outside and screaming

for help. Did I say
I had “one” student who

opened a door and died?
That’s wrong.

There were many.
The classroom of grief

had far more seats
than the classroom for math

though every student
in the classroom for math

could count the names
of the dead.

A kid opens a door. The bullet
couldn’t possibly know,

nor could the gun, because
“guns don’t kill people,” they don’t

have minds to decide
such things, they don’t choose

or have a conscience,
and when a man doesn’t

have a conscience, we call him
a psychopath. This is how

we know what type of assault rifle
a man can be,

and how we discover
the hell that thrums inside

each of them. Today,
there’s another

shooting with dead
kids everywhere. It was a school,

a movie theater, a parking lot.
The world

is full of doors.
And you, whom I cannot save,

you may open a door

and enter a meadow, or a eulogy.
And if the latter, you will be

mourned, then buried
in rhetoric.

There will be
monuments of legislation,

little flowers made
from red tape.

What should we do? we’ll ask
again. The earth will close

like a door above you.
What should we do?

And that click you hear?
That’s just our voices,

the deadbolt of discourse
sliding into place.
                                           –Matthew Olzmann

MatthewOlzmannMatthew Olzmann is the author of Mezzanines (Alice James Books, 2013). He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Durham, North Carolina.  This poem is courtesy of Poets.org

Apply for Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2017 Internships by September 15, 2017!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce two new internship positions.  Apply for our Graphic Design or Editing and Communications Intern positions by September 15, 2017!  Interns can be based in Cambridge, MA or can remote commute.

Graphic Design Internship

apply

Hours: 5-10 hours per week (Cambridge, MA or remote commuting)
Duration: 1 year (renewable)
Deadline & Guidelines: Applications are due September 15, 2017. Submit a cover letter, resume and portfolio online to cww.submittable.com.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, Inc. seeks interns for our creative media team.

Responsibilities include:

  • Attending regular meetings with the executive board
  • Designing clear and engaging graphic communications for print and web. This will include logos, branded promotional items, web site and social media graphics, posters, flyers, and other marketing materials as needed
  • Basic HTML coding
  • Researching creative inspiration
  • Reading and following art and design news

Ideal candidates:

  • Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and InDesign)
  • Basic knowledge of HTML
  • Knowledge of Illustrator
  • Experience producing content on a timely basis
  • Possess energy, enthusiasm, sense of humor, people skills, creativity
  • Have organizational skills, strict attention to detail, & ability to meet deadlines
  • Interest or experience in publishing

Address the following questions in your cover letter:

  1. What makes you excited about interning with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop?
  2. How will your skills help us as an organization?
  3. What skills do you hope to gain from your experience with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop?

Please also include a portfolio with 3-5 posters, flyers or other marketing material samples you have previously completed.

apply

* This is an unpaid internship but course credit or Federal Work Study hours and course credit may apply.  Please inquire about details at directors@cambridgewritersworkshop.org

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Editing & Communications Internship

apply

Hours: 5-10 hours per week (Cambridge, MA or remote commuting)
Duration:
 6 months (renewable)
Deadline & Guidelines:  
Applications due September 15, 2017.  Submit a cover letter and résumé online to cww.submittable.com.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, Inc. seeks interns for our editing & communications team.  Interns will gain experience in:

  • Copyediting promotional materials (print & web)
  • Formatting pieces for the web
  • Editing and generating web content (blogging about literary topics)
  • Editing and generating newsletter content
  • Contributing to our Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook pages
  • Attending regular meetings with the executive board

Ideal candidates:

  • Possess energy, enthusiasm, sense of humor, people skills, creativity
  • Have organizational skills, strict attention to detail, & ability to meet deadlines
  • Have fluency in internet and social media (esp. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and WordPress)
  • Strong interest editing/publishing experience
  • Experience with Photoshop & HTML helpful but not necessary

Address the following questions in your cover letter:

1.  What makes you excited about interning with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop?
2.  How will your skills help us as an organization?
3.  What skills do you hope to gain from your experience with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop?

apply
*  This is an unpaid internship but Federal Work Study hours may apply.  Please inquire about details at directors@cambridgewritersworkshop.org

Announcing New Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Faculty for Fall 2017 Workshops & Retreat

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce the following poets and writers will be joining our Fall 2017 Faculty for our classes in Cambridge, MA at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (September 23 – December 2, 2017) and our Harvest Creative Writing Retreat in Rockport, MA (October 12-15, 2017).

Maya Sonenberg’s first story collection, Cartographies, received the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. At the time, she was the youngest author to have received this prize. Her second collection, Voices from the Blue Hotel, appeared in 2007, and her chapbook of fiction and drawings, 26 Abductions, was published by The Cupboard in 2015. A second chapbook, After the Death of Shostakovich Père, won the 2016 PANK [CHAP]book contest and will appear in fall of 2017. Other stories and essays have appeared widely, in such journals as Fairy Tale Review, Web Conjunctions, The Literarian, New Ohio Review, and Hotel Amerika, and she has received grants from King County 4Culture and Artists Trust. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Washington—Seattle, and is currently at work on a book about her grandmother, Laura Ingalls Wilder (both the author and the character), and Jewish utopian settlements in the Dakotas during the late 19th century.

meganfernandes_newbioimage2015Megan Fernandes is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College and teaches courses on poetry, feminist theory, and science and technology studies. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She is the author of The Kingdom and After(Tightrope Books 2015), the poetry editor of the anthology Strangers in Paris (Tightrope Books 2011), and the author of two poetry chapbooks: Organ Speech (Corrupt Press) and Some Citrus Makes Me Blue (Dancing Girl Press). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Rattle, The Adroit Journal, Pank Magazine, The Walrus Magazine, Postmodern Culture, Guernica, Memorious, the Academy of American Poets, Redivider, the California Journal of Poetics, among others.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-10-52-49-amFrederick-Douglass Knowles II (Yesod) is a Poet-Educator-Activist involved in Community Education and the Performing Arts. He has competed on three National Poetry Slam Teams (2x Connecticut and Brooklyn, NY). His works have featured in the Martin Luther King Jr. Anthology by Yale University Press, East Haddam Stage Company of Connecticut, The 13th Annual Acacia Group Conference at California State University, Folio– a Southern Connecticut State University literary magazine, Lefoko—a Botswana (Southern Africa) Hip-Hop magazine and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: AIDS Anthology by Third World Press. Frederick-Douglass is currently an English Professor at Three Rivers Community College where he infuses English Composition with social injustices, such as AIDS, Poverty and War. His debut collection of autobiographical poetry, Black Rose City, was currently released by Author House.

Janaka Stucky is an American poet, performer, and publisher. The founding editor of Black Ocean, as well as the annual poetry journal, Handsome, he is also the author of a few poetry collections. His poems have appeared in such journals as Denver Quarterly, Fence and North American Review, and his articles have been published by The Huffington Postand The Poetry Foundation. He is a two-time National Haiku Champion and in 2010 he was voted “Boston’s Best Poet” in The Boston Phoenix.  In 2015, Jack White’s Third Man Recordslaunched a new publishing imprint, Third Man Books, and chose Janaka’s full-length poetry collection, The Truth Is We Are Perfect, as their inaugural title. Janaka’s poems are at once incantatory, mystic, and epigrammatic. His esoteric & occult influences, combined with a mesmeric approach to performance, create an almost ecstatic presence on stage.

CWW Board Member Gregory Crosby’s poem “A Volta” feat. on Nevada Public Radio

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce that Gregory Crosby, a member of our Executive Board, has a stunning new poem, “A Volta,” featured on Nevada Public Radio.  Crosby writes:

A Volta

The old man folded his newspaper
& asked, “Can God make a prison so
secure even He can’t break out of it?”
Well, what do you think the universe is?
We’re all on the yard together; only
some of us, those who thirst & grasp after
power, labor under the impression
that we’re the guards. A little bird flew by,
too fast to identify. The coffee
cooled past the point of no return… unless
you asked the waitress for a warm-up.
There’s always a point of return; it’s just
that you may not be the one to turn back, to
twist your head to catch one last glimpse of grace.

Read “A Volta,” on Nevada Public Radio here.

Gregory Crosby is a member of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Executive Board and the author of the chapbooks Spooky Action at a Distance (2014, The Operating System) and the forthcoming The Book of Thirteen (2016, Sylph Press); his poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Leveler, Sink Review, Ping Pong, & Rattle. He teaches creative writing at Lehman College, City University of New York.  You can follow him on Twitter here.

CWW Alumni News: Aaron Graham’s Poetry featured in Sequestrum Magazine

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce that two recent poems, “Mythos (Deployment)” and “Footfalls” by Aaron Graham, an alum of our Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat, has been featured in Sequestrum Magazine.  On the poems, Graham writes:

The first thing that actually was able to speak to me, that I was able to relate to after I got out of the Marine Corps was Eliot’s The Waste Land. There was something about the work that spoke to me, that knew me, and that I just inherently understood. “Footfalls” is sort of an attempt to repay the favor in as much as its an attempt to convey some of my experiences with “Burials for the dead” and “Unreal Cities” using a tone and diction that flowed from the intensity of The Waste Land.  Or at least in my mind it did.

I suppose, thematically speaking, “Mythos” is almost a counterpoint to “Footfalls.” It’s really dealing with the notion of this incredible weight of history in the Middle East—really in the land itself in the grains of sand and the Tigress’ silt—possesses. To think the road the unit was patrolling was walked by the Prophet of Islam or that a few miles from the spot I was standing on the Apostle Paul was struck by God on the way to Damascus was—and even still is—jarring. These are still parts of the history/mythology of global society, if not shared then at least something we’re collectively aware of. Yet, being in these places in 2006-08 and viewing the hustle and bustle around me there were times I could not have felt farther away from anything mythological. In fact, I think the thrust of the poem is the encroachment of the quotidian into any grander ideas we have of the world.

In “Mythos (Deployment),” Graham writes:

The epicenter
might be
a minaret
woman’s veil, voices
selling dates,
road-ways tamped
packed with feet
where waiting,
still the magnitude hits.
A thousand years stretch
down this street
this town, the same
ground waked by Paul
blinded he saw
God spoke place.
Words here make
sense only if kept
aside myths
in your head.
Camel rides, bouncing
in a pickup truck bed
as it passes.

To read the Sequestrum interview with Aaron Graham, please visit their site here.  Graham’s poems, “Mythos (Deployment” and “Footfalls” can be found here.

Aaron Graham hails from Glenrock, Wyoming, population 1159, which boasts seven bars, six churches, a single 4-way stop sign and no stoplights. His poetry represents a unique contribution to the arts and stands apart from the work of Brian Turner, Phil Klay, and other war poets in that it represents the experience of an enlisted United States Marine across three deployments and treats the subject matter of that experience on the front lines as a human intelligence operative, Arabic translator, and counterintelligence expert from within that frame, Aaron was recently the ‘Cecilia Baker Memorial Visiting Scholar’ for the 2016 Seaside Writer’s Conference. His chapbook ‘Skyping from a Combat Zone’ was Shortlisted for Tupelo Press’s 2016 Sunken Garden Prize. His first full length collection, “Blood Stripes”, was a finalist for Tupelo’s 2015 Berkshire Poetry Prize, his poem, ‘Olfaction’, won the Seven Hills Literary Journal’s Penumbra Poetry Prize, and ‘PTSD Poem #12’ has been nominated as ‘The Best of the Net’. Aaron founded and currently runs a weekly poetry workshop on writing the military experience for Veterans and their families at the Atlanta VAMC and continues to develop his poetry as a way of connecting with other veterans while finishing his PhD in Literature at Emory University.

Echo in Four Beats – poetry debut by Rita Banerjee – forthcoming in February 2018

Combining elements, rhythms, and personas from American jazz, blues, and ragtime, poet Rita Banerjee presents a multi-lingual, modern-day spin on the love story of Echo and Narcissus in her debut full-length poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats.  But in this story, told in four parts, Echo is more than just a fragment, she is a Sapphic voice that speaks, foretells, forestalls, and repeats.  Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.  The poetry manuscript will be available for pre-order on Finishing Line Press’s website from October 10 – December 8, 2017.  On Rita Banerjee’s poetry, the following writers have written:

“Rita Banerjee’s poems are an acrobatic music, a swinging erudition, a hip lyric to make shape of Whitman’s ‘ostent evanescent,’ a phrase he uses to conjure the metaphysical projections of the physical world. Banerjee, with thrilling compression and off-beat breaks, fashions a multi-dimensional America…With wit, play, consonance, anagram, assonance, the unexpected rhyme, Banerjee offers, in this short collection, a material, feminist, postcolonial critique of where we are as a nation, what we are made of, what we fail to make, and what we can make of language regardless…’ – Patrick Rosal, author of Brooklyn Antediluvian, My American Kundiman, and Uprock, Headspin, Scramble, and Dive

“’I had no roam / no hope to / call a // road’” writes Rita Banerjee, but I don’t believe her for a second. This is a mobile and hopeful speaker, capable of making her home in a rail car heading out of Manipal just as easily as she inhabits Renoir’s Bougival. Throughout, the worldliness is laced with heartache, in search of “’some solace that would heal the lines / between blue and continent.’” ~ Srikanth Reddy, author of Voyager and Facts for Visitors

“Rita Banerjee’s poems spin the reader into a world of tightly packed imagery that leaves us gasping at the edge of violent endings or floating in wondrous, ancient silences. With lyric intensity, delicacy, and humor, she has the capacity to make places and sounds palpable, taking the reader on a journey from Harlem to the Himalayas. This is a new voice of hypnotizing and rare beauty.” ~ Diana Norma Szokolyai, author of Parallel Sparrows and Roses in the Snow

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Rutgers University.  She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali, in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), released in November 2016.  Her debut poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.  And her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press on March 7, 2018.  She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.

CWW Alumni News: “The One Tip that Changed My Life” by Nannie Flores

Nannie Flores at the Château de Verderonne in Picardy, France

Nannie Flores, an alumna of the 2014 Château de Verderonne Yoga & Writing Retreat in Picardy, France, writes a haunting and powerful new essay, “The One Tip That Changed My Life” for Ideiya Magazine.  In the essay, Flores tackles the taboos associated with writing nonfiction, trauma, illness, and its aftermath.  In the essay, Flores writes:

Write as if your parents were dead.” In retrospect, there was something ominous and sinister about this piece of writing advice. At the time, it seemed harmless. So I took the tip when I was in college.

While in university, I wrote two one-act plays that touched on themes such as virginity and physical and verbal abuse in relationships. My parents watched the play, and they applauded along with the audience. The writing tip worked.

On the ride back home, when all the hype was over, they made sure to say they were proud of me, but that they disapproved of certain elements in my works. “Relationships are meant to be healthy,” Mama said. Papa gave his usual silent nod.

But what’s done is done. I have already written it and I didn’t need to ask for their approval…”  

Read the full essay on Ideiya here.

Nannie Flores is a playwright and nonfiction writer based in the Philippines.  Her essays and articles have appeared in EntrepreneurCosmo.ph, ABS-CBN News, Ideiya, Spot.ph, and Philippine Daily Inquirer.  You can follow her on her blog, The Fancy Delight.